Good morning, and happy belated 4th of July.
Here are five political stories worth following today.
1. Feel the Bern.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visited Rochester on Thursday as part of his strategy to cover every corner of the Midwest to draw big crowds, small-dollar donations and enthusiasm from liberal strongholds.The crowd was notable for its age diversity: There were as many older folks there as there were young. That's one key reason the political class is starting to pay closer attention to Sanders' campaign. That and the fact that he just raised $15 million from individuals who gave in small amounts. (Vox)
2. Trickle-down gridlock.
The last two sessions of Congress were among the most unproductive in the nation's history - and that's having a real impact in Minnesota when it comes to immigration, taxes and highway funding. (The Star Tribune)
3. Dark money deluge.
All that election-season mail you hate is about to get worse. That's because the IRS, which regulates political groups that front as nonprofits, is poised to take a back seat during the 2016 election as these organizations make more money (without disclosing where it comes from) and spend it, too. (The New York Times)
4. Most likely to run for president.
Even when he was a teenager, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz was a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. In his free time, Cruz was memorizing sections of the Constitution and hanging out at a conservative think-tank. He's no slacker. (NPR)
5. Making amends.
After a victory on his signature trade agenda, President Barack Obama is trying to mend his broken relationship with labor groups that vociferously opposed new authority to "fast-track" trade agreements. (The Associated Press)